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History of Cape Elizabeth

About Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Located about five miles south of Portland on the southern Maine coast, Cape Elizabeth was named in 1604 by Captain John Smith to honor Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King James I and Queen Anne of Denmark. Its craggy shores and unspoiled sandy beaches extend twelve miles into open ocean forming the entrance to spectacular Casco Bay.

In 1828 the first pair of Cape Elizabeth lighthouses were built to mark the entrance to Portland Harbor. Considered among the most important on the coast, the original towers were replaced in 1874 by 67-foot cast-iron towers, which have been painted white since 1902. The Cape Elizabeth area has borne witness to a number of shipwrecks, one of which bestowed the area with the beloved friendly spirit of Lydia Carver, a bride-to-be who perished in an 1807 storm. Her small antique grave lies near the Inn and has captured the romantic imagination of visitors and residents alike.

The area is not only known for its famous lighthouses – one of which is featured in Edward Hopper’s timeless painting “Lighthouse Hill” – and Joan Benoit Samuelson’s “Beach to Beacon” annual road race, but also for its pristine undeveloped beaches, bird sanctuary, spectacular ocean views, family farms and unparalleled hospitality at Inn by the Sea.

Welcome to Cape Elizabeth

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